Recipe for a Sidebar Vignette

Yesterday, I gave you a few tips and secrets on how to make your vignettes look natural, but balanced. Today, I am taking one vignette and showing you how I used those tips and more color, shape and silhouette balancing to create a pleasing collection. If you didn't read yesterday's post, you should CLICK HERE or else you might find yourself a bit lost!

Welcome to my sidebar.  It is actually a dresser...scored from the side of the road for free and still under a bit of construction.  For the time being, I used objects I already had to create a vignette on the top of the dresser/sidebar and I am going to walk you through the complete "recipe" of how I got to this end product.

First things first, I need to tell you to ignore those bottles of seeds sitting there.  The back of this dresser is the safest place for me to let the seeds dry away from prying hands and the water in the kitchen.  Design wise, they should not be there because it makes that middle grouping too tight, so please forgive them.  They are cute though aren't they?

Moving on, here are the "ingredients of this recipe!  I purchased a large bag of various strings and ropes in shades of beige and brown at a recent auction.  The first ingredient of the vignette is a simple roll of rope hidden under cloche (or cheeseball glass cover without the hideous brown base).

The second ingredient is a vintage metal bowl, spray painted with a bronzy metallic, 3 rolls of string, a jar of seeds and a few rosettes.  Note a few things here:  There are 5 (ODDBALLS!) items in the bowl, the seeds work as one item and the rosettes work as one item due to size and close proximity.  If one of the roses was on the other side of the bowl, it would make the grouping an even #.  The brown of the bowl is a mix between the light brown cardboard tube on the string, the darker string color and the seed color.  It is a unifier of those browns.

Ingredient 3 is a similar bowl in a similar finish, again with a variety of string and rosettes, 
but in differing heights and colors from ingredient bowl #2. 
Thus, the same theme is reflected, but not exactly for more interest.

Ingredient 4 is another spray painted wire box (see the theme emerging?)  filled with blue pocket organizers. 
 We'll talk more about her later. 

 Ingredient 5 and 6 are taller pieces.  One is a vase filled with grey rosettes.  The rosettes are the same shape and scale of the others shown, but are crafted out of a different color and material, thus providing more interest without deserting the theme.  Ingredient 5 is another "cloche" placed on top of three more rolls of string.

Ingredient 7 is the canvas you see in the background, a canvas with whites, browns and a hint of blue.
That blue is important because it is the only non-neutral color. 
Do you see the other splashes of blue?
We'll talk about this later too.

Ingredient 8 is a creamy bundt pan filled with photographs 
with shades of browns, tans, creams and whites and napkin holders in a yellow between gold and cream.

Ingredient 9 is a tall vase with a few yellowish/brown serving pieces, covered with another inverted glass piece.  
Notice how the picture placement in the bundt pan cuts into the negative space of the canvas.

OK, now that we have all of the ingredients, let's get down and dirty dissecting why I placed each item where I did.  The first thing to notice are the large shapes.  The dresser, canvas, box (#4) and mirror above, along with the actual dining room table where I am standing to take the photo are all what shape?  They are all very strong rectangles.  You will notice that ALL of the smaller items are some form of curve, circle or sphere.  If all of the items were square or rectangle, the collection would be too angular and would feel uncomfortable to look at.  There is one other major detail that melds the rectangular and spherical shapes together.   

Do you see it?

How about now?  
Do you see how the runner has an overall rectangular shape, but has curved edges and a curve in the actual design?   Without the runner, this table would be a collection of pretty things.  With the runner, it is a vignette.  Also take note in this photo the clock on the other side of the room, echoing the color of the mirror frame, while balancing its rectangular shape with it's circular one.  Also notice that the little bunting is made from circular shapes and is diagonal from the canvas creating balance. 

Remember from yesterday the first secret was to create odd groupings.  We've already established that the entire collection is a grouping of 9.  Now, you can also see that I've created a grouping of 3 heights.  
The canvas and tallest vase make up layer #1.  
The two middle vases make up layer #2.
The lowest items make up layer #3.

That last little metal basket (labeled oddball) is leading your eye up towards the taller display case to the right
(HUG the ones you love from yesterday).

Confused yet?
Let's break it down.
Here is the original view of the dresser.
Let's consider just the items on top and forget the mirror, bunting and basket.
Note the three large groupings, 2, 3 and 3 items in each.

Now that you have your oddball number and groupings balanced, it is time to start creating height balance.
Balance a taller item on the left corner (canvas) with a low item on the floor (basket).

Balance the height of the canvas with the height of the tall glass vase.
Now you have created a triangle, a pleasing, balanced shape.

Remember yesterday when we broke the photo of the chicken and then the vignette with the artist's figure down into a grid of thirds?  
Once you have achieved balance, then you start placing your most striking items in the intersections of the grid.

Now, the final tip yesterday was on balancing color.  
Remember that blue on the floor?
It is essential in this grouping to balance the blue on the runner and the blue writing on the canvas.

What you do not see in this photo is that the line continues, from the floor blue, the runner, 
up to the canvas, past the canvas to two chairs and then ultimately out the window to the blue sky. 

One of my main goals in my home is to draw the eye to the windows and out, over and over and over again.  
This subtle alignment of blues up towards the sky is an effective way to draw your eye up and out.

Also remember that the basket with blue organizers not only balances the colors, 
but also balances the canvas and the bunting creating another triangle.

So in conclusion:

2. Hug the ones you love
3.  GRID (thirds)
4. Balance Color

balancing light and dark in a grouping of 3

If you master those basics, then you can move on to creating balanced shapes and leading lines:

5. Create balanced triangles of color and shape.
6.  Draw the eye across the room to your focal point (outdoors!)
7. Do you want to know more?!?

Remember to upload your photos of vignettes around your home HERE
for a chance to be featured here on the Nest for All Seasons!


Laura said…
I love the dresser!
Jessica said…
Woah...this is an AWESOME post! Love! Totally helpful & chic.
very helpful tips indeed
to helping me make editing decisions
for my own vignettes

and now i know another thing
i can stick inside my cloches

thanks for sharing at fridays unfolded!